Suzhou

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A city surrounded by fresh water, Suzhou cuisine has developed a unique style based on local aquatic life. Try the stewed, shredded eel; or silver fish (Yínyú, 银鱼),  stewed and lightly fried with a semisweet sauce; or steamed Tai Hu whitefish with ginger and peppers. Mid-autumn is crab season, with fresh hairy crabs appearing all over town from Yangcheng Lake. The local palate favors light seasoning and slightly sweet sauces that allow the taste of fish, meat and lightly cooked vegetables to come through cleanly. Suzhou snacks and street food are highly regarded—try the honeyed tofu cakes, pine nuts in syrup, melon seeds fried with rose juice, sesame cakes with mashed dates or other traditional treats. The best places to try authentic Suzhou cuisine can be found along Shiqian Street (Shíquán Jiē, 十全街) and the middle of Renmin Road (Rénmín Lù, 人民路).

International cuisine has made its way to the city restaurants, thanks to the influx of foreign tourists in recent years. The big hotels do some good western food and a number of smaller independent restaurants around town are branching into continental cuisine.

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